“He who has a why can endure any how.” - Frederick Nietzsche
Every single endeavor, project, dream or goal will hit a crisis or two at some point in its implementation. No matter how perfectly you execute an idea or follow through with a plan, no matter how airtight your script is, you will face challenges and setbacks.
Murphy’s law famously states that “anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. While seemingly pessimistic, Murphy’s law is also a powerful tool for exploring and mitigating scenarios that could go wrong in the implementation of your plan or project. In stoicism, this is called premeditatio malorum
- the premeditation of the troubles that might lie ahead, which helps us prepare for and address those troubles when they do eventually show up.
“What is quite unlooked for is more crushing in its effect, and unexpectedness adds to the weight of a disaster. This is a reason for ensuring that nothing ever takes us by surprise. We should project our thoughts ahead of us at every turn and have in mind every possible eventuality instead of only the usual course of events.
But it’s not always possible to remain stoic, resilient and unwavering in the face of crisis. Sometimes - if not many times - situations overwhelm us and we become helpless, hopeless and disillusioned by the challenges we face. When this level of despair hits us, quitting can look like the only viable solution, especially if we believe we’ve tried everything to resolve the situation at hand.
But these crisis points are often the exact moments that turn into inflection points - moments of distress in which we come up with brilliant solutions that we would never have thought of before - and inflection points are powerful tool for accelerating growth.
Often, the one thing that can help us get back on track is to remember why we started. This raison d'etre is the lynchpin or foundation for our purpose; it is our why.
Every single endeavor or journey you’ve started had a singular moment when you discovered or understood why
you wanted to start. And that purpose should always be your North Star
when things get tough.
When you’re about to quit, remember why you started. – Unknown.
When you remember why you started, you get perspective, clarity and renewed focus, because your resolve shifts away from the crisis you’re facing and your mind goes into problem-solving mode, driven by the desire to complete the work you started.
From Crisis to Opportunity
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” - Charles R Swindoll